Travel diaries – Canada: Toronto

September and its annoying routine has started up again, so I thought I’d write about holidays again. I’m back today to share my second part of my Canada Travel Diaries and I am very, very, very excited to get back to it and to get lost in all the memories again.

In case you missed it or didn’t know, I got lucky enough to realize one of my biggest dreams this summer: visit Canada. This country and both Montréal and Toronto had been on my bucket list since forever and, in the summer of 2019, my sister and I got lucky enough to hop on that plane across the Atlantic and just do it. After five days spent visiting and exploring Montréal, we headed off to Toronto, our second part of this trip.

☂️ In case you missed it, you can read my travel diaries on Montréal right here.

Small heads-up: this is a looooong post… but lots of pictures, too!! I hope you’ll enjoy it.

🌊 Day One in Toronto: Toronto Waterfront

We spent half of the first day actually on a train, since Toronto is a little over 5 hours away from Montréal. After discovering the Canada landscape a little bit, reading our travel guide and just, getting ready and hyped up to see the city, we finally arrived at Toronto Union Station around 3 in the afternoon. The second we got off the train station, we spotted the CN Tower and gasped and hurrily ran towards our hotel to leave our luggage and get back out there to explore it all.

For our first afternoon there, we decided to stay put and calm (for once) and to explore Toronto’s Waterfront a little bit a.k.a the Lake Ontario. We headed off to a short walk in the gigantic streets, surrounded by towering buildings that made us feel like the smallest people in the world… which felt strange, overwhelming and exciting all at once, because we’re not really used to things being this massive, here in France where we live. After a short walk and a gazillion pictures of the CN Tower (the star of our trip, really. We’re big, big fans), we made it to the waterfront. People and families were milling around, tourists taking pictures and people partying on boats and, way closer than we thought it’d be, the Toronto Islands watched over us from across the water. Way, way closer than we thought they’d be, massive commercial planes took off right above the Lake, too. I mean. I’m happy we didn’t take off from there because, shudders.

🏙 Day Two in Toronto : CN Tower, Old Toronto & St Lawrence’s Market, City Center

On our second day in Toronto, we’re back full speed and doing everything all at once, because that’s just how we are.

We head off first thing in the morning to our star, the CN Tower, because we’re tourists and we just can’t miss a stunning view okay. Being there before 9 in the morning is also, honestly, the best tip I have to offer for this attraction, because we didn’t wait a single second or queue for even a minute. At all. After a surprisingly quick elevator ride, we found ourselves towering over the city of Toronto, even more impressive from above than from the ground.

We took tons of pictures, walked for half a second on the glass floor because, despite the sign telling us it can hold I don’t know how many elephants, we’re not that into it and overall marvelled at the gigantic city that stood below our feet.

Back on the ground, we set off to explore the Old Toronto. We crossed Union Station off our list, even though we had already half visited it when we arrived, spotted the Fairmont Royal York Hotel sitting right across from the train station. We were shook once again by just how damn big everything is here as we saw the Sun Towers, gigantic twin towers. After a couple more minutes of walking, we headed off to see the local Flatiron Building, also called the Gooderham Building. It was really, really beautiful and the contrast between modern and ancient buildings is, as always, impressive.

The next must-stop on our list was the St. Lawrence Market. In a beautiful building, the market is filled with food from all around the world and packed with people, obviously. We made our way around the stands filled with bread, cheese, meat and fish and alive lobsters roaming around in aquariums, delicious pastries that made me want to EAT everything here and more. We settled down here for lunch and opted for an italian sandwich that was the size of our heads, with chicken, mushroom, eggplant and tomatoes. It was delicious.

We took a little detour down the streets during the afternoon, meeting the local tramway for the first time, crossing paths with the beautiful Cathedral Church of St. James and getting lost among all of the massive buildings.

💦 Day Three in Toronto (Well, not really): Niagara Falls & Niagara-On-The-Lake

We left Toronto the next day, for the entire day. While we were all the way over here, across the Atlantic, a short ride away from one of the wonders of the world, we weren’t about to pass up on an opportunity to see it. So, early on Sunday morning, we took off to see the Niagara Falls.

We were really worried at the gray skies as we left the city, but as we drove down the roads heading towards our destination, the sky cleared and, when we arrived a little over an hour and a half later, the skies were a bright blue… yet the windshield was slowly getting rained on. My sister and I stared at each other frowning. We were meters and meters away from the falls and the sky was blue blue blue, yet when we got outside, we were, well, soaked. We were maybe over 50 meters away from the actual falls and we were getting soaked on by all the humidity already. I mean… What the heck.

That what the heck duplicated like a thousand billion times when we arrived in front of the Falls, where all we could see were glimpses of a massive, massive waterfall through a foggy steam. It was impressive and strange and as we found a spot a little farther away from the crowds, it was breathtaking.

We opted to head off to get a better view of the Niagara Falls. In this place, one of the most popular thing to do is to get on a boat and head off … almost under the falls. See, it’s not that we didn’t want to get wet (I mean, we already were) or that we were scared of drowning (okay, maybe a little, I mean, the FORCE of it is insane already from afar). It’s just that we wanted the views.

So we head off to the Skylon Tower, a tower offering stunning views (and a restaurant…if you’re hungry. It was 10 am. We weren’t that hungry) of the Niagara Falls and we didn’t regret a thing. We could see the stunning Falls from above and, right behind, the United States of America, the city of Buffalo a little farther away and just. Wow.

We took it all in for a little while then headed back to the city of Niagara Falls right next to it all to explore. The city felt overwhelming despite its small size, clearly a place made for tourists and for everyone to have fun, fun and fun. Attractions everywhere, haunted houses and wax museums, food food and more food and a lot of music. Not my kind of city, to be honest, but well, still disorientating.

After lunch, we headed back north following the Niagara River and made a last stop at Niagara-on-the-Lake, apparently the cutest village up there. It was small, human-sized compared to everything we’d seen before, filled with little shops and I ate a giant cookie with chocolate, caramel and M&Ms on top because… well. It’s me.

🏝 Day Four in Toronto: Toronto Centre Island, Chinatown & Kensington Market

Remember that first day, when we arrived and spotted the Toronto Islands across from us? On our fourth day in Toronto, we took the ferry and went there. Supposedely, it had the best views of the city and…. well, friends, I never took that many pictures in a day in the entire trip until that moment.

A short 15 minutes ferry ride took us to the Centre Island. You can bring your kids for a picnic or have fun on playgrounds, bring your bike for a bike ride or something… it seemed to be a very, very popular spot as, even early in the morning, the ferry was packed. We went our way once we arrived, walked across a little bit of mud and next to adorable little ducks and just arrived, there.

One of the most beautiful view I’ve ever seen on this trip, really.

We spent too much time staring and taking way too many pictures, exploring the island and enjoying its calm and peacefulness, seeing planes taking off above the water before heading back to the main land and the bustling city.

We took the tramway for the first time heading off to Chinatown and the Kensington Market afterwards, spotting beautiful houses and strange cars, eating waffles and obviously people noticing we are French because of our accent while we order.

🏛 Day Five in Toronto: Downtown Toronto, City Hall, Nathan Phillips Square and I’m buying books!

We were lucky, really, because during our entire trip, it only rained one day in Toronto, and it was on our last day. I had decided that it was the day I could FINALLY go buy books so… that didn’t bother me too much.

Before that, though, we took the subway and headed off to Downtown Toronto to see the Old and New City Hall. As always, impressive buildings compared to what we call City Hall here in France, aerm. We spotted the Toronto sign under gray skies, walked on the local Times Square, Yonge Dundas Square and found shelter in the Toronto Eaton Center, a big great shopping center just in time before the rain started.

We spent the day making piles of books in the local Indigo Store and wishing we had both more money and more luggage space for it all. When you’re not used to having bookstores like that, let me tell you, it feels like a dream. We did some shopping and tried to enjoy it all as much as we could.

The next day, we headed off to the airport, back to our 17 hour-long journey back towards home. We were even more exhausted than when we arrived, because jetlag this way is the absolute worst, but you know what, if I had to do it all again, I would a thousand million times, because that was a dream come true and I really, really can’t wait to make more dreams come true like this one.

 

Do you want to go to Toronto? Did you get the chance to visit already? What are some places on your travel bucket list?

I hope you enjoyed reading this travel post! Let me know your thoughts in comments!

 

 

 

 

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

53 thoughts on “Travel diaries – Canada: Toronto

  1. This post made me so happy to read, Marie! I’m so glad you had a great time, and it looks like it was a phenomenal trip.❤️I hope to go to Canada someday! All the architecture looks so beautiful, and of course I want to see Niagra Falls, too. The giant cookie you described sounds DELICIOUS and made me want one too, haha! Lovely post☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this! It’s always interesting and fascinating to see how tourists see Toronto! I’m so glad you had a great time! I haven’t been up the CN Tower yet… I think for my next milestone birthday I’m going to, and eat in the 360 restaurant!
    I loved your photos! Things I see on a monthly (I would say monthly as I don’t go into Toronto every day) basis is cool to see through your eyes!
    I’m also glad you enjoyed Indigo… I always find myself wandering the shelves there! 😀
    Again, your Niagara Falls photos are beautiful… I’m really glad you got to go to Niagara on the Lake, such a beautiful little town! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you so much, I’m so happy you enjoyed it! I bet that eating at the 360 restaurant there has to be amazing. Oh, I want to go back haha 🙂
      Niagara on the Lake was such a lovely town, so charming!
      Thank you so much for stopping by 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have always wanted to go to Canada! It’s funny because I guess technically I could drive there but have never done it. I’m totally jealous! It seems that you and your sister had a great trip! I hope you were able to ease back into your regular life. Coming back from a good vacation is hard!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This looks like such a fun trip, and all your photos are so cool!! When I went on a trip to Toronto with friends last fall, we went to a lot of the same places – including Niagara Falls! – so this brings back great memories 😀 We didn’t go up the CN Tower though – that view is stunning, and I’m sure it was even better in person! I’m so glad you had a great time!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aww it looks like you had a wonderful time and got to see a lot of fantastic sites. I’d love to see Niagara Falls – it looks absolutely amazing and I love waterfalls – and the views from the island look stunning too. I’m glad you had such a lovely time 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved reading this so much!! It all looks so amazing and I’m so glad you had such a nice time.
    The views from the CN tower looks incredible– I’m not sure I would want to stand on the glass floor either– it just doesn’t feel right!! haha!!
    Niagara Falls look so amazing– I love waterfalls so much and obviously this is one of the most impressive– I wish I could teleport there right now haha!!! The views from the Skylon tower look SO wonderful!! Just wow!! Niagara-on-the-Lake looks amazing (sorry I am saying this about everything ahha)
    Taking loads of photos in something I relate to– I always have an insane amount when I come back of holiday!!
    I bet visiting the bookstore was amazing!!
    It all looks incredible and I have extreme wanderlust feelings now, haha!! Amazing photos!! 💛💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh thank you Sophie, I’m so happy you enjoyed this post ❤ ❤
      The Niagara Falls were stunning, really, and I'm so glad I got to see them from above, it was even more impressive!
      I'm glad I'm not the only one…. I take way too many photos every single time, but I love to do so 😀
      Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah, I love seeing all these pictures and hearing about your trip! I absolutely love Niagara Falls and would go back in a heartbeat. I didn’t visit the Canadian side, but it’s interesting to me that the American side isn’t as touristy. I just love the Falls, and I drove down the river and saw the whirlpools and actually went about 20 miles further downriver to Fort Niagara. It’s all just so pretty!
    Someday, I’d love to visit Toronto, it’s definitely on my list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I felt like the Canadian side was much more popular, but with the stunning views we had, I’m not surprised. I’ll have to do the American side to compare haha, that would be incredible if I could 😀
      I hope you’ll get to visit Toronto someday, Elizabeth, it’s a wonderful city ❤
      Thank you so much! ❤

      Like

  8. Every time I see photos of Niagara Falls, I’m blown away by its beauty!! I love reading about your adventures in Canada, and I’m so happy to hear that this was a dream come true for you. I’m excited to make that happen for me one day when I travel to England. Discovering cute bookshops away from home is so bittersweet! I went to one in the place my family & I go to every summer (& the place I’m planning on living in one day), and I fell in love with it. I can’t wait til the day I’m a regular customer there, rather an annual one :’)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. marie, thank you soooo much for sharing! i’ve been in such a travel mood lately. i think it’s the weather or just the fact i haven’t left my house in a while (lol), but i’ve literally planned two entire schedules for trips i’ll never take, but oh well, hahah.
    i love that the airplanes take off right above the water! in brazil, one of the airports in rio is also extremely close by the water, so when you’re landing, it literally looks like you’ll land on the ocean! some people think it’s scary, but i find it’s really fun & exciting!
    i’d have definitely loved the glass floor as well, i’m sure. i know there’s a similar attraction in chicago, i believe, and i’d love to visit that one day, despise how scary it may look!
    hahah, the humid weather looking like rain! in brazil, we have iguaçu falls instead of niagara falls, but i do remember the weather being humid af and having my clothes soaked by the end of the day. it’s so awesome niagara falls has a building you can see the waterfall from the top, though! in brazil, you have to walk through the mountains in order to get a better view. i was disappointed i didn’t get the chance to walk on the boat super close to the waterfall, so if i ever visit the one in canada, i’ll make sure to take the boat trip!
    i relate with the struggle of wanting more luggage space to bring books! my mom kept telling me to bring clothes or souvenirs, but i literally just wanted to buy all the books, hahah.
    your pictures turned out stunning and i really want to visit toronto now! even with the grey skies, it looks like a marvelous city!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahhh but the planning is so much fun as well! I’m so happy I could make you travel a little bit with this post ❤
      I think I'd be terrified to land in Rio, haha, I'm already not a fan of the plane at all and… well I'd be scared, though the view has to be stunning haha 🙂
      ahhhh i'll have to add this destination to my bucket list, I'd love to see these falls, I bet it's stunning as well 😀
      Ahh thank you so much, Lais, I'm so, so happy you enjoyed this post ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Marie!!!
    Wow I am so glad that you enjoyed Toronto!! It was so nostalgic to read your post and look at all your pictures!! When I was in university, I used to live beside Chinatown and went to Chinatown and Kensington Market every weekend to get groceries! I would pass St. Lawrence Market and Gooderham Building on my running route haha (except back then I had no idea it was called the Gooderham Building!!) Reading your post really brought back memories and made me miss home a bit (but in a good way!!) Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ohhh this all sounds SO amazing and exciting!! Toronto seems like such a nice city and I could have spent a long time in St. Lawrence Market and try out all the delicious treats 🥰 And the Niagara Falls!!! It’s high on my bucket list and looks sooo stunning in the pictures! I’ve always found waterfalls to be so fascinating in general 😱

    Liked by 1 person

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